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Is it appropriate for my 78-year-old mother to fast?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta-Deoband.com
My mother is of about 78 years old. She has partially memory lost. In this Ramadan she is performing sawm (fasting). She is not willing to lapse her fasting. (1) Sometimes unconsciously she seeks water to us. But if we let her know about her fasting, she denied drinking water by breaking her fasting. Will that situation makes any harm in my mother’s fasting? (2) My mother also has a habit of drinking little water after completing her wudhu every time. Due to above reason, I am in doubt that she may drink water habitually as when performs wudhu in absence of us. What can be the solution if she does as my doubt? I mean, am I to pay kaffarah for the same on doubt? Please clarify the situations as early as possible.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

(Fatwa: 1103/1129/N=11/1437)

(1) It is forgiven to eat unknowingly during fast. Hence if your mother drank water in the state of fasting while she did not remember the fast then her fast shall be valid and it will not break. However, if she asks someone for water and he remembers about her fast then he should remind her of the fast.

(2) Mere doubt shall not be taken into consideration. The ruling is the same which was mentioned above. However, while the fast was remembered and water went down the throat while doing gargling then the fast shall break but only qaza shall be wajib not kaffarah. Kaffarah becomes wajib only when a man eats something during the fast of Ramadan intentionally. And if someone remembers his fast or not but he eats something by mistake then kaffarah does not become wajib. Yes, only qaza shall be wajib in latter case.

Allah knows Best!

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband

This answer was collected from the official ifta website of Darul Uloom Deoband in India.

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